1) West Papua situation similar to East Timor prior to independence, activist says
PHOTO: Protesters call for West Papuan independence at Parliament House in Darwin. (ABC News: Alyssa Betts)
The situation in the Indonesian province of West Papua is similar to East Timor just before independence, a West Papuan activist has announced at a protest in Darwin.
A group of about 60 people have erected a temporary hut embassy outside Parliament House, calling for West Papuan independence from Indonesia.
Jacob Rumbiak, who said he was now in self-imposed exile after spending 10 years as a political prisoner, said the situation in West Papua had worsened recently.
"In April, Indonesia caught 447 of the student movement," he said.
"Last month, after Indonesian president [Joko Widodo] released five political prisoners, they caught another 500 of the student movement.
"Also, they killed three people, including one secondary student."
A Darwin Aboriginal elder taking part in the protest said Indigenous people there are being subjected to rights abuses.
Larrakia woman June Mills said the hut embassy was about giving a voice to the voiceless and she called on governments around the world to intervene in the West Papua situation.
"We have laws in this country that protect indigenous rights and children's rights ... if the Government isn't going to stand up and do the right thing, well the people of Australia are going to," Ms Mills said.
PHOTO: Protesters call for an independent West Papua by building huts near Parliament House in Darwin. (ABC News: Alyssa Betts)
2) PM insists Indonesia MSG membership good
2) PM insists Indonesia MSG membership good
Posted: Monday, July 6, 2015 12:00 am | Updated: 4:53 pm, Mon Jul 6, 2015.
Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, has spoken for the first time since being voted back into office three weeks ago and the vote by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit on West Papua’s application for membership at their meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands, nearly two weeks ago.
Prime minister Kilman broke his silence on the subject while addressing church leaders at the National Bible Week Prayer Breakfast for Leaders Saturday morning at the Palms Resort in Port Vila.
He applauded the decision of the meeting in accepting West Papua into MSG as an Observer and elevating Indonesia to Associate Member status.
As is now common-knowledge, the prime minister, did not attend the MSG Leaders’ Summit in Honiara that made those decisions. Hard-pressed by political developments at home, emanating from the court challenge lodged by the Opposition following the new Speaker of Parliament, Marcelino Pipite’s decision to throw out the Motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minster that came in one week after his election and then closing the Parliament session.
PM Kilman sent an envoy instead to convey his message to the leaders’ summit.
Since then, the Vanuatu prime minister has not spoken in public to explain his Government’s position on the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) application for full MSG membership for West Papua. Even though, the majority of the people of country including the churches were fully behind full MSG membership for West Papua.
He did not even make time to meet a representative of ULMWP when he came to Port Vila a week before the Honiara meeting to present the Vanuatu Prime Minister with the signatures of 150,000 people of West Papua seeking his support for the application by ULMWP.
It was also ironic that the Vanuatu prime minister should choose to make his first public comment on West Papua’s membership issue to a church function. He has been fully aware that many church leaders as well as members have been the main backbone of the Vanuatu people’s support for West Papua independence movement.
The VCC with the backing of the Pacific Council of Churches and sponsorship from the previous government of Joe Natuman were behind the meeting of indigenous leaders of West Papua in early December 2014 during which the ULMWP was formed.
After its formation the ULMWP drafted and lodged a new application for West Papua membership of MSG after the first application to the 2013 Summit in New Caledonia got knocked back with the reason that it was unrepresentative of all the independence groups in West Papua.
In expressing his agreement for the decisions of the MSG Honiara Leaders’ Summit, PM Kilman cautioned that Indonesia’s sovereignty must be respected when dealing with matters to do with West Papua.
“Our freedom as independent nations and people must also mean we accommodate Indonesia.
“MSG has a responsibility and it must ensure there is peace among its members,” he cautioned in his reference to the freedom enjoyed by Vanuatu and her people, the subject of the theme for this year’s Bible Week was “The Unchanging Word of God on Freedom”.
The Prime Minister began his message saying: “Today July 4, 239 years ago in 1776, the United States of America signed the Declaration of Independence – the Declaration of Freedom that in part states: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”
“Thank God that today we also are enjoying this same freedom under our Constitution that states: ‘We the people of Vanuatu, proud of our struggle for freedom, determined to safeguard the achievements of this struggle, cherishing our ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity, mindful at the same time of our common destiny, hereby proclaim the establishment of the united and free Republic of Vanuatu founded on traditional Melanesian values, faith in God, and Christian principles.”
He pointed to this year’s theme of the National Bible Week based on freedom and said it can be summed up by the verse in the Bible John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
Lamenting daily challenges to his government, the Prime Minister voiced his concern that in his job today in the government he faced challenges every day “that emphasized the two words – truth and freedom. He accepted that constant changing of allegiances by MPs in Parliament is having a disastrous impact on the country.
“I was elected three weeks ago based on each MPs freedom to believe that I will be the best person to rule the country. But I humbly caution that this Parliamentary freedom resulting in the constant movement by MPs is an abuse of the freedom that is having a negative effect on development,” he added.
Nethy Dharma Somba, thejakartapost.com, Jayapura | Archipelago | Sun, July 05 2015, 4:56 PM